Reduced Levels of mGlu2 Receptors within the Prelimbic Cortex Are Not Associated with Elevated Glutamate Transmission or High Alcohol Drinking

Zheng Ming Ding, Cynthia M. Ingraham, Sheketha R. Hauser, Amy W. Lasek, Richard L. Bell, William J. McBride

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


Background: A Grm2 cys407* stop codon mutation, which results in a loss of the metabotropic glutamate 2 (mGlu2) receptor protein, was identified as being associated with high alcohol drinking by alcohol-preferring (P) rats. The objectives of the current study were to characterize the effects of reduced levels of mGlu2 receptors on glutamate transmission and alcohol drinking. Methods: Quantitative no-net-flux microdialysis was used to test the hypothesis that basal extracellular glutamate levels in the prelimbic (PL) cortex and nucleus accumbens shell (NACsh) will be higher in P than Wistar rats. A lentiviral-delivered short-hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated knockdown was used to test the hypothesis that reduced levels of mGlu2 receptors within the PL cortex will increase voluntary alcohol drinking by Wistar rats. A linear regression analysis was used to test the hypothesis that there will be a significant correlation between the Grm2 cys407* mutation and level of alcohol intake. Results: Extracellular glutamate concentrations within the PL cortex (3.6 ± 0.6 vs. 6.4 ± 0.6 μM) and NACsh (3.2 ± 0.4 vs. 6.6 ± 0.6 μM) were significantly lower in female P than female Wistar rats. Western blot detected the presence of mGlu2 receptors in these regions of female Wistar rats, but not female P rats. Micro-infusion of shRNAs into the PL cortex significantly reduced local mGlu2 receptor levels (by 40%), but did not alter voluntary alcohol drinking in male Wistar rats. In addition, there was no significant correlation between the Grm2 mutation and alcohol intake in 36 rodent lines (r = 0.29, p > 0.05). Conclusions: Collectively, these results suggest a lack of association between the loss of mGlu2 receptors and glutamate transmission in the NACsh and PL cortex of female P rats, and between the level of mGlu2 receptors in the PL cortex and alcohol drinking of male Wistar rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1896-1906
Number of pages11
JournalAlcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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